It appears that I was dead wrong about the winner of the HD Format war. Since Toshiba officially declared stopping production of HD-DVD players on Tuesday it seems that Blu-Ray is going to move in as a market leader. It seems that we were all wrong – remember the HD-DVD vs BluRay poll. Yeah, we all got fooled. Oh, and btw, since my cousin is blaming me for making her waste money on the loosing technology, I am in turn blaming you guys and I have that poll to prove that you have given me the wrong advice. ;)
Why did we pick the looser back then? I think we looked at this assuming the choice will be made by customers, not the movie studios. My logic went like this: HD-DVD is cheaper, and so more accessible. Early adopters will likely go with the less expensive technology and will start building their collections in that format. BluRay being the high end, more expensive choice will have a smaller initial user base, and a slower uptake. I assumed movie studios will go with the flow of the market and support whichever platform gives them access to a bigger chunk of the market. Logically it worked out.
But I forgot that free market rules do not apply when you are dealing with extortion racket. Everyone loves Hollywood movies, and Hollywood has practical monopoly on them. They don’t really need to follow the market on this one. As long as enough big studios throw their weight behind some format, because it has “moar DRM” this format will become the de-facto standard. It’s that simple. It doesn’t really matter how many people buy HD-DVD – if there is no good movies coming out in that format because the studios decided not to support it, then it will die a natural death sooner or later.
Now that I think about it, it figures that overwhelming number of big studios picked Sony. After all, Sony is also involved in the content distribution racket. Who can understand Hollywoods silly DRM needs better than the company that already illustrated blatant disregard for both their customers and talent by silently installing rootkits onto millions of systems worldwide as means of copy protection. Sony is their people. How come I didn’t see it earlier. Sigh, I guess hindsight is always 20/20.
I have noticed that prices of the HD-DVD hardware has already plummeted down and will likely continue to do so. When I checked last night, Wallmart was selling some of the cheaper Tochiba models a little bit over a $100 which is almost half of what they were when I was last shopping for HD players few months ago. Retailers are probably going to slash the prices very drastically to sell as many of the now obsolete equipment before people catch onto this. Blu Ray players are still comfortably in the $400 range.
I guess the new question is, is it better to buy the slightly more expensive PS3 or a standalone Blu Ray player? Which one would you get?